IPL 2023 – Michael Bracewell joins RCB as replacement for the injured Will Jacks

Michael Bracewell, the New Zealand spin-bowling allrounder, has been signed up by Royal Challengers Bangalore as replacement for Will Jacks, who has been forced to give IPL 2023 a miss after picking up an injury while on tour for England in Bangladesh.

Jacks, one of Royal Challengers’ big buys at the last auction, had been acquired for a price of INR 3.2 crore (US$ 390,000 approx. at the time). Bracewell, though, will join Royal Challengers for his auction base price of INR 1 crore, the BCCI said in a press statement.

Rachin Ravindra, meanwhile, has been called up as Bracewell’s replacement for New Zealand’s three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, which will follow the ongoing Test series.
“Michael’s been a key contributor to our white-ball teams since making his debut last year. It’s exciting he’ll get a chance to take up the learning opportunities the IPL provides – particularly as a spin bowling all-rounder,” Gary Stead, the New Zealand head coach, said in a statement. “With a World Cup in India this year it’s great to have players getting more experience in those conditions.”

Bracewell, 32, is equally handy with bat and ball, and has played seven Tests, 19 ODIs and 16 T20Is for New Zealand. In a T20 career of 117 matches, he has 2284 runs at a strike rate of 133.48, and 40 wickets with an economy rate of 6.52. He joins captain Faf du Plessis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell, Reece Topley, David Willey and countrymate Finn Allen as the overseas players at Royal Challengers.

Jacks, who, like Bracewell, has never played in the IPL, sustained a muscle injury while fielding in England’s victory in their second ODI against Bangladesh in Dhaka. After scans earlier this week and consultation with a specialist, he had to opt out of the IPL.

The injury came as a significant blow for Jacks, who had hoped to use the IPL as an opportunity to familiarise himself with Indian conditions and push his case for selection in England’s squad for the 50-over World Cup later this year. He had tweeted “Gutted. I’ll be back,” after news of his exit from the IPL came out on March 15.

Royal Challengers play their first game of the season against Mumbai Indians on April 2. It will be their first fixture at their home ground, Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium, since May 2019, after which Covid-19 had forced IPL matches to be held in limited centres, even in the UAE.

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